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Information about each of the 21 statutory bodies that make up the UK National Preventive Mechanism and links to their websites can be found here. One of the features of the UK NPM is that it provides a structure of ‘layered’ monitoring.

Lay monitoring bodies perform visiting functions, and have a more continuous presence in places of detention. Inspectorates perform their functions periodically. Drawing effective linkages between different monitoring layers with the joint objective of preventing ill treatment is essential.

Care Inspectorate

Established by the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 the Care Inspectorate is the independent scrutiny and improvement body for social work and social care and support services for people of all ages in Scotland. The Inspectorate was established in April 2011 from three previously existing scrutiny bodies: the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (Care Commission) for care services; the Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA) which carried out strategic inspections of social work services in the community and a directorate of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) which carried out joint inspections of services to protect children. As part of its new remit, the Care Inspectorate regulates secure homes for children and young people as well as other residential services. The Care Inspectorate is leading on the development of Rights based National Care Standards for Scotland.

Care Quality Commission

CQC is an independent statutory organisation responsible for monitoring, inspecting and regulating health and adult social care services in England, to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and encourage services to improve. CQC has a statutory duty to keep the operation of the Mental Health Act 1983 under review, carrying out investigations where appropriate, and interview patients who are subject to the Act in hospital and the community and produces a report to the Secretary of State annual on its activities and findings from the work it carries out relating to the MHA. CQC also keeps the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards under review during its regulatory inspections and produces a report on the operation of the safeguards each year. CQC works closely with other organisations that manage and oversee services in England including its joint inspections of health care in prisons and immigration detention alongside Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and participates in inspections of police custody alongside HMIP and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Care Inspectorate Wales

CIW regulates and inspects all social care services in Wales to make sure that they are safe for the people who use them. This includes secure accommodation where children are placed either for their offending behaviour or because they pose a significant risk to themselves or others. CIW also monitors the deprivation of liberty safeguards during its regular inspections of adult care homes and reports annually to the Welsh Ministers on the operation of the safeguards.

The Children’s Commissioner for England

The Children’s Commissioner’s primary function is to promote and protect the rights of children in England, with particular regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The function includes promoting awareness of children’s views and interests. The Commissioner is required to have particular regard to the rights of children who are living away from home, in receipt of social care services, or who are otherwise particularly at risk of having their rights infringed.
Staff working in the Commissioner’s office have the power to enter any setting where a child (or young adult with an EHC plan or leaving care entitlements) is accommodated or cared for, other than a private dwelling, in order to observe the standards of care, to interview any person working on the premises and (with the child’s consent) to interview the child in private. With regard to the National Preventive Mechanism, the types of facilities the Commissioner’s office can use this power to visit include but are not limited to the youth justice secure estate, police stations, immigration facilities and medium secure mental health facilities.

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland

CJI is an independent statutory inspectorate with responsibility for inspecting all aspects of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland apart from the judiciary.  It also inspects a number of other agencies and organisations that link into the criminal justice system.  In its role as a member of the NPM CJI inspects a range of places of detention in Northern Ireland, including prisons, the juvenile justice centre, police custody and court custody.  CJI partners with other inspectorates such as RQIA, HMIP and the Education and Training Inspectorate in conducting these inspections where appropriate.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales

HIW regulates and inspects all health care in Wales. Part of this role involves monitoring compliance with mental health legislation and ensuring that health care organisations observe the deprivation of liberty safeguards under the Mental Health Capacity Act 2005. In doing so, HIW works closely with CIW, which monitors the use of deprivation of liberty safeguards in social care settings. HIW also participates in HMIP-led inspections of prisons in Wales, assessing the health care provided to prisoners and ensuring that it is equivalent to that provided in the community.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services

HMICFRS has a statutory duty to independently inspect and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of every police force in England and Wales. Following the ratification of OPCAT, HMICFRS’s role has included carrying out inspections of police custody facilities in all 43 forces in England and Wales in partnership with HMIP. The second rolling programme of police custody inspections commenced in April 2014. HMICFRS can also be commissioned by the Home Secretary or a local policing body to carry out an inspection and in February 2015, published a report on the welfare of vulnerable people in police custody which followed a Home Secretary commission.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland

The role of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland is to independently monitor the state, efficiency and effectiveness of the Police Service of Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority. This role is set out in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012. As part of its broader role in reviewing and improving policing across Scotland, HMICS carries out inspections of police custody facilities, monitoring the treatment of and conditions for detainees.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons

HMI Prisons is an independent statutory organisation that carries out regular inspections of places of detention to assess the treatment of and conditions for detainees. HMI Prison’s inspection remit is broad and includes: all prisons in England and Wales, including young offender institutions; all immigration removal centres, short-term holding facilities and escort arrangements for immigration detainees; all police custody facilities in association with HMI of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services; court custody facilities; secure training centres in partnership with Ofsted; and customs custody facilities with HMI of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. By invitation, HMI Prisons inspects some military detention facilities and also participates in inspections of prisons in Northern Ireland (in partnership with CJINI) , prisons on the Isle of Man and Channel Islands, and some other overseas prisons with jurisdictions with links to the UK.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland

HMIPS inspects prisons, including young offender institutions, paying particular attention to the treatment of and conditions for prisoners. It also inspects prisoner escort arrangements – this includes the conditions in which prisoners are transported from one place to another – as well as court custody facilities or other places where prisoners are held temporarily outside a prison.

Independent Custody Visiting Association

Independent custody visitors are volunteers from the community who visit all police stations where detainees are held to check that their rights and entitlements are being granted and their welfare is being cared for. Custody visiting is statutory and visitors have the power to access police stations, examine records relating to detention, meet detainees for the purpose of discussing their treatment and conditions, and inspect facilities, including cells, washing and toilet facilities, and facilities for the provision of food. One of ICVA’s key roles is to look at the skills base of independent custody visitors and to ensure that they are confident and able to conduct visits to the majority of people in custody and make those visits as effective as possible. Following an earlier review of ICVA commissioned by the Home Office ICVA changed from an unincorporated organisation to a company limited by guarantee on 31st July 2013.

Independent Custody Visitors Scotland

Independent Custody Visitors in Scotland carry out regular, unannounced visits to police stations to monitor the treatment of and conditions for detainees. Custody Visitors in Scotland were officially designated as a member of the UK NPM in December 2013. By virtue of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, custody visiting in Scotland is now a statutory scheme.
The statutory scheme is now administered by the Scottish Police Authority. Since 1 April 2013, significant work has been carried out  to ensure standardisation in visiting, reporting mechanism and recording. In addition, in pursuit of the OPCAT mandate arrangements have been put in place to ensure that all custody centres, which had not previously been subject to custody visiting, were included within the scheme.

Independent Monitoring Board

Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs) have a statutory duty to satisfy themselves about the state of the prisons or immigration detention facilities they visit, their administration and the treatment of prisoners or detainees. There is a Board for every prison in England and Wales and every Immigration Removal Centre in England, Wales and Scotland, as well as for some short-term holding facilities for immigration detainees. IMBs also monitor some charter flights.  Board members are appointed by the Secretary of State. Boards are comprised of unpaid members of the community and fulfil their duties by carrying out regular and frequent visits to establishments.   There concerns are discussed at regular meetings with Governors, Directors and Managers. These concerns can also be raised through Regional meetings and the National Council and have a duty to produce a written report annually for the Minister.

Independent Monitoring Boards (Northern Ireland)

IMBs in Northern Ireland are statutory bodies whose role is to monitor the treatment of prisoners and the conditions of their imprisonment. The boards are made up of unpaid members of the community and fulfil their duties by carrying out regular visits to establishments. There are three boards in Northern Ireland, one for each prison. Board members are appointed by the Northern Ireland Justice Minister.

Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation

The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is an individual (generally a QC in private practice) who is security cleared and tasked with reviewing the operation of the United Kingdom’s anti-terrorism laws.  Part of the role is to monitor the conditions of persons detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 prior to a charging decision (for up to 14 days), and to report on compliance with the requirements of Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act, PACE Code H and equivalents. The IRTL has no staff and works closely with independent custody visitors.  He has the right of entry to custody, and is able to access custody records and other documents.  The IRTL produces an annual report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts, which includes information and recommendations on detention.

Lay Observers

Lay Observers are independent volunteers who check that prisoners escorted by private companies in England and Wales are treated decently. Lay Observers inspect court custody areas and the cellular vehicles used by contractors to transport detainees to and from court. They also visit police stations to observe the handover of prisoners from the police to the contractors and visit prisons to observe the handover of prisoners from the prison to the contractors and vice versa. Lay Observers play a vital role in ensuring standards of decency are maintained.

Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland

The Commission is an independent statutory organisation working to protect and promote the human rights of people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, dementia and related conditions. Its activities include checking if individual care and treatment are lawful and in line with good practice; empowering people and their families or carers through advice, guidance and information; promoting best practice in applying mental health and incapacity law, and influencing policy, legislation and service development.

Northern Ireland Policing Board Independent Custody Visiting Scheme

The Northern Ireland Policing Board is an independent statutory public body made up of 19 Political and Independent Members established to ensure for all the people of Northern Ireland an effective, efficient, impartial, representative and accountable police service which will secure the confidence of the whole community, by reducing crime and the fear of crime. The Board supports and administers its Independent Custody Visiting Scheme and its Performance Committee considers quarterly reports on the work of the Scheme. Independent Custody Visitors are volunteers from the community who work in pairs to monitor how people being held in police custody are treated. Custody Visitors work independently of the police and the criminal justice system, making unannounced visits to designated police custody suites across Northern Ireland at any time of day or night. The scheme operates across 3 areas:  South East, Fermanagh/Tyrone and the North West. Custody Visiting reports highlight any issues raised on the rights of the detainee, their health and wellbeing; and the facilities and conditions of detention as well as the actions taken to address them.

Northern Ireland Policing Board (

Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills)

Ofsted is a regulatory and inspection body that inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. In the context of detention, Ofsted inspects and regulates secure children’s homes and, jointly with HMIP and CQC, inspects secure training centres. It assesses the provision of education and training in prisons, YOIs and IRCs as part of HMIP-led inspections.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) was established in 2005 under The Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) Northern Ireland) Order 2003.  RQIA is the independent body that regulates and inspects the quality and availability of health and social care services in Northern Ireland to drive improvements for everyone using these services.  A key element of its role is to inspect the provision of health and social care in places of detention, including prisons, secure accommodation for children or places where people are detained under mental health law.

Scottish Human Rights Commission

The SHRC is Scotland’s National Human Rights Commission, an independent statutory body with a general duty is to promote awareness, understanding and respect for human rights and, in particular, to encourage best practice in relation to them. SHRC works with public bodies which detain people, and those which monitor and inspect them in order to promote a human rights based approach. SHRC also has a power to undertake inquiries into Scottish public bodies and to enter places of detention and report on the rights of detainees as part of an inquiry.